*Disclaimer. I have learned tons about pregnancy, birth and postpartum but I realize that my way of having babies and taking care of myself is not necessarily right for everyone. So take my advice or some of it or leave it altogether. Just do what supports you. That is my hope, that you will support, love and take care of your body and spirit after having your baby.
Having a baby is the greatest thing you will ever do as a woman. Your body has the power to create life, sustain it and also bring it into this world. It is amazing. It is truly awesome. It is NOT easy and it isn't always pretty. It can be very difficult to heal both physically and spiritually from pregnancy and birth. Even if you had an easy pregnancy and a simple uncomplicated birth - your life has been changed forever. You are now a mother. That is huge. HUGE. Don't sell yourself short. Take care of yourself postpartum.
Many women are meticulous in taking care of their bodies while pregnant and spend hours researching and drawing up birth plans to ensure a healthy pregnancy and happy safe birth but they don't know that just as much, if not more, time and attention should be put into ensuring you have a happy postpartum. This is such a special time, you should be able to enjoy it.
Until, I had Lemma, I didn't know that the time after having a baby could be so wonderful and so happy! If you've read the past couple of posts on this blog then you know my postpartum experiences have been miserable but I have learned so much about how to prevent postpartum depression and keeping mama happy as can be post baby. Here is what I have learned.
1. Placenta Pills. I know this is weird to most people but I will always recommend placenta encapsulation to every women. It can only help you to avoid postpartum depression, give your milk lots of added nutrients, give you TONS of energy and increase your milk supply. It won't hurt you or your baby. If you think you'd never do it, trust me, just save your placenta anyway. If you end up suffering from postpartum depression like I did - you'd do anything to heal and get your life back. I took placenta pills in combination with herbs that naturally help the female body to regulate it's own hormones. Leave me a comment if you are interested in the herbs I took. I really believe I got the most out of my placenta pills because I took the herbs along with them.
2. Have help. Organize help for you and your family for after the baby is born. Do not try to be a hero. Have as much help available as you can. A mom, mother in-law, sister, friend, or if you are me, you can have all of the above come and help after the baby is born. What do I mean by help? I mean, take care of the house, cook, do laundry, clean, do dishes, take care of other children, run errands, etc. Notice that this list of duties does not include taking care of your newborn. That is your job. This is your time to spend with your brand new baby. This is your time to get to know this little person and feel her huge spirit. This time is so special. Don't let anyone take it away from you and make sure you get to enjoy it by having help. I don't mean that no one can hold the baby, feed the baby, or take a turn at night with the baby. I just mean, that it is not the purpose of them being there to help you. They do everything else while you take care of you and your baby. OK?
3. Take it easy. Relax. Take naps. Sit on the couch amid the messes and watch the children play. If you feel some energy and motivation do a chore or two. But if you start feeling tired in the middle of a sink of dishes just leave the sink half done. If you feel tired after vacuuming one room, turn off the vacuum and leave the other rooms for later. If you start feeling tired after collecting all the laundry just leave it in the basket and start the load later. Get what I'm saying? Don't push yourself, take it easy. If you start feeling guilty or you hear someone whisper in your ear that your being a wimp, you just whisper right back to that little devil, with a smile on your lips, "I just had a baby. I was pregnant for 10 months, and just HAD A BABY. I am going to go rest." No reason to feel guilty and nope, you are not a wimp, you are strong! LOOK WHAT YOU JUST DID!
4. Take time for leisure. Take a bath. Read a book. Meditate. Take a walk. Bake a dessert. Make out with your man. Get a massage. Paint your nails. Take time to do something you enjoy.
5. Exercise. Once you have been given the 'OK' from your doc/midwife, get out and work that body. Try for 3 times a week, but TAKE IT SLOW. I don't care if you've only been on that treadmill for 5 minutes, if you're starting to suck air and your legs hurt go 1 or 2 more minutes and then call it a day. Then the next time you get on the treadmill, when you start feeling those legs burn go 2-3 more minutes then call it a day. Ease into it. Do not push yourself too hard too fast. And if you are on that treadmill and all of the sudden hear, "You're a wimp.", you just smile and say, "I'm a freaking BEAST! I just gave birth and here I am at the gym! GO ME!" Seriously though, exercise is really important to heal after pregnancy and birth physically and emotionally. Make it a priority but just go easy on yourself.
5 1/2. Have sex. Have sex when YOU want to. Not when it's been 6 weeks, cause it's been 6 weeks or cause your man thinks he's gonna die. Sex is awesome. It's an amazing way to de-stress, connect with your man, have fun, feel like a woman and not just a mama, etc. But it can feel like a chore and actually be stressful for a new mama if you are feeling guilted into it. Have sex, lots of sex, yay for sex, sex, sex - BUT - when you are ready.
6. Take time away from your kids. Trust me, this one is important. Make sure you get some time each week away from your kids. Go to the store by yourself, go to the gym, go out to lunch with a friend, go to a movie, send the children to someone else's house, go for a drive, go for a walk, walk around the library. Go and be without your kids. They will miss you and you will miss them but it will be better for everyone if you do this.
7. Love your body. Your body is amazing. Look at what it just did. It may look a
8. Have people to talk to. Your children are beautiful and wonderful but they don't really understand you and their conversational skills are lacking... It really helps to have people to talk to. It helps even more to have people who are sensitive to and understanding of the postpartum time and who will be supportive of you and help you keep a positive outlook when mothering seems hard.
9. Get help. If you feel sad, if you feel guilty, if you feel nothing, if you feel hopeless, if you feel angry, and out of control, if you feel anxiety and no motivation - GET HELP. I felt those things for so long and just thought I was a bad person. I just thought things were hard because my baby cried all of the time. I didn't think I deserved help because of the way I felt. I didn't understand that my hormones were all jacked up. I didn't understand that I was sick and I needed help. Please do not feel guilty if you have any of these feelings. You are not a bad person. You are not a bad mother. You are just sick, and sick people need taking care of. And please don't judge yourself for being sick. You didn't get this way because of something you did. Postpartum depression can happen to any woman and it happens A LOT. 80% of women suffer from depression during pregnancy and/or postpartum. You are NOT alone and this is NOT your fault.